What would happen if none of us had the “gumption” to follow through with an idea which creates an invention? We all have abilities and an imagination, but sometimes the invention “invents” itself!
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone.2 This wasn’t his original intent. He was trying to create a device to help the deaf learn to speak. Potato chips were created by a cook who wanted to annoy a disgruntled guest; plastic was created when a chemist was trying to find a substitute for a substance emitted by a South Asian bug and Teflon was created during the efforts of improving the refrigerator!3
I was reading a blog recently about the invention of Christmas wrapping paper! I don’t think it ever occurred to me that it was an “invention” because it’s just always been there. But the truth is, everything has to start somewhere! But Christmas paper apparently wasn’t originally designed to be the pretty paper we now use to disguise the contents within.
When Christmas paper was first “invented” it was wallpaper back in 1509. When someone tried using it as a gift-wrap it cracked and was difficult to use. It wasn’t until The Victorian Period 1837-1901, the wall paper seemed to make a comeback as a “wrapping,” but boasted a delicate design which included lace and ribbon, much like the Christmas cards of the same era. In 1917, quite by accident and out of desperation, Christmas wrapping paper was “re-invented” because Hallmark ran out of their regular wrapping paper and substituted it with another, more in line with what we see today, which was surprisingly, hugely successful!1
So here we are, about five weeks from Christmas. How do you choose Christmas paper? Is it random, thin and the most inexpensive, or thick and elaborate? Does it have to be a certain print or does that matter at all? When I think of myself buying Christmas paper, I admit, I tend to choose the fat rolls that can give me the “biggest bang for the buck.” I know I need cheerful, Santa and children prints, for my grand children but aside from that, as long as it’s a Christmas print, I’m not much concerned about the trimming.
What is inside the package is so much more important than how it’s wrapped. When our family did the “twelve days of Christmas” –after Christmas (That’s another blog!) I actually recycled old Christmas paper. One year I used colorful comic strip paper from the Sunday newspapers. The children enjoyed that paper as much as using the traditional Christmas wrapping!
My point is this. Inventions are great whether someone is looking for a specific object or product; or if the invention comes by accident! We’ve all been given a dose of creativity and it’s up to us how we choose to use it. From the telephone, to plastic and even Christmas paper, what ’s important is how we use the inventions.
Christmas paper is a huge product now and it can be very expensive, depending on taste! But it’s how the gift is given, not wrapped that matters. Most of the time the paper is just ripped off the package anyway to see the prize inside. Give a gift of your heart, this year. Wrap it with every shade of love and watch the smiles erupt.